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Foods to Choose and Foods to Lose this BBQ Season

Foods to Choose and Foods to Lose this BBQ Season

Jen Jones

Nothing says summer quite like burgers, beer, and hanging poolside with your buddies. For those of us who endured three (or more) months of bone-chilling temperatures, ice, and snow, the arrival of BBQ season is like crossing the finish line of a grueling marathon. But the question always lingering in the back of our minds is, “how do I enjoy summer festivities without sabotaging my beach bod?”

In addition to sticking with your fitness routine, there are smart choices that you can make this summer to have fun AND be healthy. Check out these foods to choose and foods to lose to help you look and feel your best all summer long.

Burgers
CHOOSE:
Grass-Fed 5% Lean Beef Patty
LOSE: Conventional 15% Lean Beef Patty

Opting for 95% lean over 85% doesn't just save you seven grams of fat, it also slashes the saturated fat in half and keeps excess calories in check. Keep the lean burger meat from drying out by mixing it with minced button mushrooms, peppers, onions, or a combination of all three. For every cup of meat use a quarter-cup of vegetables. 

Buns
CHOOSE:
Lettuce Wraps
LOSE: Conventional Burger Buns

Skinny your lean burger even further by making it a lettuce wrap. Conventional burger buns are high in processed carbohydrates and preservatives and they are low in just about every nutritional category. Skip it; add some tomato, onion, and Dijon mustard (even steak sauce!) for a flavor packed burger that won’t bust your gut.

Fruit
CHOOSE:
Watermelon
LOSE: Ice Cream

We all love a cold & sweet treat when it’s hot. Watermelon is rich in immune-boosting vitamin C and manganese, a mineral that fights off cell-damaging free radicals. However, watermelon has merely a fraction of the calories of a frozen dairy treat and it also boasts waist-trimming properties. According to recent findings, eating watermelon may improve lipid profiles and lower fat accumulation. Additionally, they don’t call it WATERmelon for nothing, it’s a great way to help you increase your water intake in the summer heat.

Pasta Salad
CHOOSE:
Spiralized Zucchini Noodles (aka Zoodles!)
LOSE: Traditional Pasta Noodles                

Pasta salad is a staple at most summer cookouts. Instead of going the traditional route, volunteer to make a nutrient rich version using spiralized zucchini noodles, or even use iron- and protein-packed chickpea based pasta instead of regular noodles (which are usually void of any noteworthy nutrients.)

Beer
CHOOSE:
Light beer or vodka with a zero-calorie mixer
LOSE: Traditional Full Bodied Beer

Listen, we know that beer and BBQs go hand-in-hand, it’s the American way. Obviously, choosing water is your best bet for keeping that svelte figure you’ve been working so hard for, but if you’re going to indulge and let loose a little, still choose wisely. You may be as patriotic as the next guy, but if you're trying to fight fat, pass on traditional ale and go for a lighter option, like an ultra-light beer or vodka with a zero-calorie mixer. Remember to have two glasses of water for every one alcoholic beverage.

Summer is many people’s favorite season and we agree that it should be F-U-N! Using the above tips can help you achieve the ability to have fun without derailing all your discipline and hard work. Balance it out and have a great time in the heat!

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